The Big Differences The Girl In The Spider's Web Makes To Lisbeth And Mikael's Relationship

Claire Foy in The Girl in the Spider's Web

The complicated relationship between journalist Mikael Blomkvist and vengeful force of nature Lisbeth Salander has been the twisty thread connecting all of the films adapted from the Millennium series of novels. Any film trying to tell the next chapter of Lisbeth's story has to find a way to focus on Mikael, even though Fede Alvarez -- the director of the upcoming The Girl In The Spider's Web -- says this his film shifts its focus way more on Lisbeth than it does on her relationship to Mikael.

To that end, when CinemaBlend recently traveled to the Berlin set of The Girl In The Spider's Web to learn more about the dark thriller, we spoke with the new Lisbeth, Claire Foy (The Crown), about how the relationship between the two lead characters has evolved. This is the fourth book in the series, and so, there's real history that can be played with by Foy and her co-star, Sverrir Gudnason. And Foy explained to us:

I think from the outside, as a sort of spectator, you sort of just are like, 'Go on, get together, be happy!' If that was sort of the normal, common or garden story. But you know, it sort of diminishes how interesting they both are as characters. I think it makes it slightly different that we [as actors] are much closer in age. I mean obviously I'm supposed to be ever so slightly younger than I am. [Laughs]. But I think that makes it sort of more interesting in a way because it's not an age-difference thing. It's not like young girl, older man. It's actually that we have a deep connection, a deep understanding of one another. But it's like, in what world would these two people ever, could they ever make it work? And it's not just the fact that she's sort of a vigilante sort of person, but it's more the fact that, how do you even begin to cross that bridge of differences between them?

It's very true that previous interpretations of the Lisbeth-Mikael relationship -- whether it was Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist, or Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig -- played up the sizable age difference that made any type of romance seem uncomfortable. By design, mind you. Yes, in the books, Lisbeth and Mikael become lovers. But it wasn't the intention of Fede Alvarez or Claire Foy to go down that road again for The Girl In The Spider's Web. In fact, Foy elaborated in the same interview:

In this one, I think they have a shorthand. I think they've gone past that point. I think it was at the end of the third book where he's at her front door and is like, 'Alright, can I come in?' And [original author] Steig [Larsson] says something about letting him back in. ... She let him back into her life. And I think we haven't done that in this one. What we've said is the fact that they haven't seen each other for three years, and where have they gone? He's missed her, and she's got over him. And that, to me, is the interesting thing about where you find them. That she's like, 'No, no, no, I don't care about you anymore. I don't care!' And he's like, 'Come on....' And whether she goes for that, or not, is the thing. They're certainly not going to walk down the aisle. So yeah, that's never going to happen.

And yet, audiences still come back, eager to watch the evolution in the unconventional Lisbeth-Mikael relationship. Possibly because it's unlike anything that we see in our own lives? Or, maybe, because it's a mirror image of what we are living in, and it's comforting to see it on the big screen.

If that's the case, we want to hang out with you some day.

The Girl In The Spider's Web stars Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, and puts her on a personal mission that brings her long-lost sister, Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks), back into her life. The movie streets on November 9. Head here to read the previous stories from our set visit. And stay tuned for even more from the cast and crew of Spider's Web.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.